How Common Is Domestic Violence?

Presented by BetterHelp.

Most people are familiar with domestic violence as a concept, if they are not intimately familiar with what it might involve. Despite much of the confusion surrounding domestic violence and all that it entails, there are harrowing statistics associated with domestic violence, including its prevalence in families, households, and intimate relationships. To understand these statistics, we will first identify what domestic violence is, and how it can present. 

Qualifying Domestic Violence

Domestic violence is usually associated with physical violence that occurs between two members of a family, but this is not the only type of domestic violence that exists, nor does it provide a clear picture of all that the term encompasses. Domestic violence is identified as any violence (including mental and emotional abuse), found within a household. Domestic violence can be a parent perpetrating abuse against a child, but can also involve grandparents, spouses, sibling violence, and even violence that occurs between unrelated people sharing a house. 

Although the word “violence” might immediately lead to images of physical assault, it is actually used to describe a wide range of behaviors and actions that do not necessarily involve physically attacking or being attacked. Violence can include mental or emotional abuse, gaslighting behavior, and stalking, all of which threaten the safety of an individual, but may not immediately lead to visible physical injuries. This definition involves far more than what many see as domestic violence, but is important, because it illustrates how detrimental any form of abuse can be, even in the absence of physical action. If you need more information on domestic violence, read some of the peer-reviewed articles available here.

Domestic Violence Vs Intimate Partner Violence

All intimate partner violence is domestic violence, but not all domestic violence is intimate partner violence. Intimate partner violence is identified as any violent act or assault that occurs between intimate partners. These partners need not share a house or occupy the same or similar living spaces; they merely need to be in a relationship that is marked by violence (physical, emotional, or otherwise). Domestic violence, as we discussed above, can occur between people within an intimate relationship, but must occur within the same household. 

Domestic Violence Statistics: How Common Is It? 

Domestic violence may seem like a distant occurrence, but it is actually far more common than you might expect. 1 in 5 women and 1 in 7 men report having experienced intimate partner violence in their lifetime, which may or may not involve other forms of domestic violence. This means that for every 5 women, at least 1 will have had previous (or will have current) encounters with domestic violence, whether that is intimate partner violence or another form of domestic violence. 

Despite it being a common occurrence, the effects of domestic violence are anything but typical. Domestic violence usually causes significant changes to health, including psychological distress, which can eventually lead to mental health diagnoses, such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The mental, physical, and even economical effects of domestic violence are substantial, and they can strongly impact entire families and communities. The common nature of domestic violence in no way limits its negative reach, and prevention methods and initiatives are essential to ensure the health of partners, families and communities. 

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Christophe Rude

Christophe Rude

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